The ‘GmbH light’. Current developments in the Austrian GmbH-Law

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On 1 July 2013 the ‘GmbH light’ comes to life. It is the result of an amendment to the Austrian Act on Limited Liability Companies that was discussed among politicians and various interest groups for many years. The most important amendment is the reduction of the minimum nominal capital of a GmbH to €10,000 (£8,600). However, the amendment also brings along other remarkable changes. In this briefing, selected key issues of the amendment will be highlighted.

As the cornerstone of the amendment, the minimum nominal share capital of a GmbH shall in future be €10,000, instead of the currently relevant amount of €35,000. Since in case of a cash formation only half of the nominal capital has to be paid in upon establishing a GmbH, the future minimum amount of share capital to be paid in upon establishment is €5,000 instead of €17,500.

By reducing the minimum nominal share capital, the Austrian legislator hopes to increase the attractiveness of the Austrian GmbH. So far, the minimum nominal share capital of €35,000 of the Austrian GmbH was the highest compared with similar legal forms in other European countries. Then again, by keeping a minimum capital of €10,000, the legislator intends to maintain the GmbH as a reliable and trustworthy legal form with some initial capital cushion that should, according to the legislator, prevent insolvency situations shortly after incorporation and should help to cover losses sustained in the start-up period of a GmbH…

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